Memorial Day 2010: Who Will Defend the Gulf Coast?

By Greg Moses

When the President stood at the beach on Grand Isle, Louisiana on Friday May 28 did it look like a major invasion was coming? Was the readiness of the President’s forces in full array?

By Tuesday, June 1, the front-line sea battle between the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the shores of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama will stretch about 270 miles. The invasion has been in the making for about forty days, and the President of the United States declares that he has been briefed on its progress daily.

If the President had just spent forty days preparing for a sea invasion that was projected to hit between Boston and Washington, DC what would you expect to see along that shoreline behind the President’s back? 300 men with rakes?

Elizabeth Cook, writing for New Orleans IndyMedia, calls this a constitutional crisis, and so it is. Even the level-headed David Gergen recognizes that the oil spill on the Gulf Coast raises the most fundamental question of social contract. The preamble to the Constitution declares that it shall provide for “the common defense.” So where is the common defense of the Gulf Coast?

It is time for the Commander in Chief to tell the whole truth about the oil spill invasion. It is time for him to show us a map of the NOAA oil spill forecast and tell us exactly who is doing what and where.

Common sense suggests that two hundred miles of floating booms should have been deployed to stop the oil at the surface and that massive resources in skimming technologies should have been applied. Where is the boom line? Where are the skimmers? We deserve a detailed action map linked to the White House website. We deserve to see a timeline of what has been ordered when.

Military history instructs us that new wars demand innovations of tactics and materiel. What are the innovations of this war? What new equipment is being deployed?

Communities across the United States participate in networks of civil defense and national guard. There are at least 15 million people unemployed. The Gulf Coast is full of people who would drop everything if they were needed to lend a hand. Who will be mobilized? What can be done with civilian boats and volunteers?

The President has promised “cleanup.” Okay. There will come a time for that. Meanwhile we want to know this week what is being done to turn back and contain that oil spill–using everything at the President’s command.

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